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Do you value your time?

Time is money

As a business owner, do you really know how much your time is worth?

Doing some things yourself can be a money saver but doing things you aren’t accustomed to doing can cause a lot of problems. Let’s look at the cost/benefit of a task.

  • You’ll spend your valuable time learning how to do this task.
  • You’ll spend your valuable time implementing this task
  • You’ll spend valuable time maintaining this task.
  • You’ll be unsatisfied with it because it doesn’t look like or work like it was done by a professional.
  • You’ll lose business because the task you’ve attempted looks “cheap”. A common public perception about looking cheap is your products or services are subpar.

The best way to avoid this and recognize the value in hiring professionals is to understand what it really costs when you go the “cheap route”.

Do yourself and your business a favor and hire a professional. It’s been good advice for hundreds of years.

Sage advice from Benjamin Franklin:

[July 21, 1748]

Advice to a young Tradesman, written by an old One. 2

To my Friend A. B.

As you have desired it of me, I write the following Hints, which have been of Service to me, and may, if observed, be so to you.

Remember that Time is Money. He that can earn Ten Shillings a Day by his Labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that Day, tho’ he spends but Sixpence during his Diversion or Idleness, ought not to reckon That the only Expence; he has really spent or rather thrown away Five Shillings besides.

Remember that Credit is Money. If a Man lets his Money lie in my Hands after it is due, he gives me the Interest, or so much as I can make of it during that Time. This amounts to a considerable Sum where a Man has good and large Credit, and makes good Use of it.

Remember that Money is of a prolific generating Nature. Money can beget Money, and its Offspring can beget more, and so on. Five Shillings turn’d, is Six: Turn’d again, ’tis Seven and Three Pence; and so on ’til it becomes an Hundred Pound. The more there is of it, the more it produces every Turning, so that the Profits rise quicker and quicker. He that kills a breeding Sow, destroys all her Offspring to the thousandth Generation. He that murders a Crown, destroys all it might have produc’d, even Scores of Pounds.

Remember that Six Pounds a Year is but a Groat a Day. For this little Sum (which may be daily wasted either in Time or Expence unperceiv’d) a Man of Credit may on his own Security have the constant Possession and Use of an Hundred Pounds. So much in Stock briskly turn’d by an industrious Man, produces great Advantage.

Remember this Saying, That the good Paymaster is Lord of another Man’s Purse. He that is known to pay punctually and exactly to the Time he promises, may at any Time, and on any Occasion, raise all the Money his Friends can spare. This is sometimes of great Use: Therefore never keep borrow’d Money an Hour beyond the Time you promis’d, lest a Disappointment shuts up your Friends Purse forever.

The most trifling Actions that affect a Man’s Credit, are to be regarded. The Sound of your Hammer at Five in the Morning or Nine at Night, heard by a Creditor, makes him easy Six Months longer. But if he sees you at a Billiard Table, or hears your Voice in a Tavern, when you should be at Work, he sends for his Money the next Day. Finer Cloaths than he or his Wife wears, or greater Expence in any particular than he affords himself, shocks his Pride, and he duns you to humble you. Creditors are a kind of People, that have the sharpest Eyes and Ears, as well as the best Memories of any in the World.

Good-natur’d Creditors (and such one would always chuse to3 deal with if one could) feel Pain when they are oblig’d to ask for Money. Spare ’em that Pain, and they will love you. When you receive a Sum of Money, divide it among ’em in Proportion to your Debts. Don’t be asham’d of paying a small Sum because you owe a greater. Money, more or less, is always welcome; and your Creditor had rather be at the Trouble of receiving Ten Pounds voluntarily brought him, tho’ at ten different Times or Payments, than be oblig’d to go ten Times to demand it before he can receive it in a Lump. It shews, besides, that you are mindful of what you owe; it makes you appear a careful as well as an honest Man; and that still encreases your Credit.

Beware of thinking all your own that you possess, and of living accordingly. ’Tis a Mistake that many People who have Credit fall into. To prevent this, keep an exact Account for some Time of both your Expences and your Incomes. If you take the Pains at first to mention Particulars, it will have this good Effect; you will discover how wonderfully small trifling Expences mount up to large Sums, and will discern what might have been, and may for the future be saved, without occasioning any great Inconvenience.

In short, the Way to Wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as the Way to Market. It depends chiefly on two Words, Industry and Frugality; i.e. Waste neither Time nor Money, but make the best Use of both.4 He that gets all he can honestly, and saves all he gets (necessary Expences excepted) will certainly become Rich; If that Being who governs the World, to whom all should look for a Blessing on their honest Endeavours, doth not in his wise Providence otherwise determine.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5. Little is known of the author. His name appears on an arithmetic of which there was a fifth edition in 1740, and the many editions of Cocker’s Arithmetic between 1725 and 1767 were “carefully corrected and amended” by him. Fisher was not, as has been suggested, the pseudonym of Mrs. Thomas Slack (née Anne Fisher), author of several elementary educational works and wife of a Newcastle printer who was himself the author of several books of mathematical character. Ambrose Heal, The English Writing-Masters and their Copy-Books, 1570–1800 (Cambridge, 1931), pp. 50–1; Louis C. Karpinski, “The Elusive George Fisher ‘Accomptant’—Writer or Editor of Three Popular Arithmetics,” Scripta Mathematica, iii (1935), 337–9; William E. Lingelbach, “Franklin’s American Instructor: Early Americanism in the Art of Writing,” APS Proc., xcvi (1952), 375–81; H. R. Plomer and others, A Dictionary of the Printers and Booksellers … in England … 1726 to 1775 (Oxford, 1932), p. 230.

6. This work first appeared in 1681; a fifteenth edition appeared in 1737, with four plates illustrating the round and Italian hands.

7. With unimportant differences the English preface was reprinted in the Philadelphia edition, but a final paragraph was added: “In the British Edition of this Book, there were many Things of little or no Use in these Parts of the World: In this Edition those Things are omitted, and in their Room many other Matters inserted, more immediately useful to us Americans. And many Errors in the Arithmetical Part are here carefully corrected.” The American preface ended: “Vale & Fruere.”

8. See above, ii, 155.

9. The round hand illustrated in one of these plates has been thought to be a creation of bf, but was not. Ray Nash, American Writing Masters and Copybooks(Boston, 1959), pp. ii, 23.

1. This is the earliest known printing. The Advice was reprinted by Benjamin Mecom in New England Mag., No. 3 (1759), 27–8, with minor variations and the addition of one sentence. Mecom’s version was followed in a broadside printed by Daniel Humphreys about 1785 (Evans 19011). Worthington C. Ford, “Franklin’s Advice to a Young Tradesman. Two Unique Impressions,” The Bibliographer, I (1902), 89–96. None of bf’s principal editors—Duane, Temple Franklin, Sparks, Bigelow, or Smyth—included the paragraph beginning: “Good-natur’d Creditors.”

2. In subsequent printings the title was generally omitted, and the Advice was given a signature, “An old Tradesman.”

3. Mecom, Humphreys, and later printings omit “chuse to.”

4. Mecom, Humphreys, and later printings add a sentence at this point: “Without Industry and Frugality nothing will do, and with them everything.”

Can you live without Windows 7?

Windows7 EOL

Happy with archaic Windows 7, but worried about the road ahead?

What am I headed for?

— N. Hamilton

A: I understand your frustration. It’s not just Microsoft. At some point, program developers discontinue support for older programs. When that program is an operating system like Windows that means security patches will no longer be developed and made available. That means if you keep using the old operating system you will be more vulnerable to hackers and malware than if you upgrade to a currently supported operating system.

Microsoft did offer free upgrades to Windows 10. That program officially ended in 2016, but you can still achieve the workaround by following directions you’ll find here.

And you can find details about the life cycles of each version of Windows here.


Special to The Seattle Times

Trademarks or Service Marks?

Background concept wordcloud illustration of trademark glowing light

Trademarks or Service Marks

A trademark or service mark is important to a business that is trying to protect a name, design, slogan or any combination thereof. It is used to identify and distinguish a party’s goods or services from any other’s providing or rendering the same goods or services in the marketplace. They can be considered one of the most important assets of a business since they are readily associated with a business’s reputation and goodwill.

“Trademark” is the term used to identify a mark which is being used in connection with a tangible product (i.e., shoes, soda, apparel, etc.).

A “service mark” is the term used to identify a mark that is being used in connection with a service (i.e., carpet cleaning, plumbing, auto repair, etc.).

Not all names, designs or slogans can be marked, however. The proposed mark must be unique and must contain some distinguishing feature or component that separates it from all the other names, designs or slogans currently being used by other individuals and/or businesses who are producing or selling the same product or rendering the same type of service. Florida trademark and service mark registrations are filed with the Florida Department of State and must follow all the statutory filing provisions of Chapter 495, Florida Statutes.

The owner of a mark may be an individual or a legally recognized business, so long as the business entity maintains an active registration on file with the Division of Corporations. A mark must be in use before it can be registered. In the case of a trademark, the good(s) or product(s) must be on sale in the marketplace. For a service mark, the applicant must actually be rendering the service for which a service mark is applied. The mere advertising of goods or services does not constitute use of a trade or service mark.

Section 495.021(1)(f), F.S., prohibits the Division from registering a mark if it consists of a mark previously used in Florida and not abandoned. The section also prohibits the Division from denying a mark registration based solely on the registration of a corporate name or fictitious name. It is the responsibility of the registering party, not the Department of State, to investigate the availability of a proposed mark, determine that the mark does not constitute an infringement upon the mark of another, and defend it against infringement.

Specimens, Facsimiles, Examples
The purpose of specimens or facsimiles (examples) is to illustrate the manner in which the mark is actually affixed to or displayed in connection with the goods or services. Three specimens or facsimiles for each class of mark must be included with the application. Specimens or facsimiles must depict the mark as it is actually used. Do not submit typed or handwritten specimens or facsimiles unless the mark is actually depicted in that manner on the goods or products or in the case of a service mark, in advertising or promotional materials.

To apply for a trademark, submit specimens or facsimiles that are affixed to the good(s) or product(s). Some acceptable trademark specimens or facsimiles are labels, decals, tags, wrappers, boxes and containers. If your mark is a service mark, submit specimens or facsimiles that reflect the type of service(s) being provided. Some acceptable service mark specimens or facsimiles are business cards, brochures, fliers and newspaper advertisements. If your mark is both a trade and service mark, you must submit three appropriate trademark specimens or facsimiles and three appropriate service mark specimens or facsimiles. Three of the same item or three different items are acceptable. Be sure to send three specimens or facsimiles for each class for which application is made.

Do not submit camera-ready copies, letterhead stationery, envelopes, invoices or matchbooks. Photographs of bulky specimens are acceptable if the mark to be registered and the good(s) or product(s) are clearly legible. Specimens or facsimiles that are difficult to view or have been altered or defaced in any way are not acceptable.

Classes/Fees
Each product or service falls within one of 45 specific classes for registration. For information on classes and fees, visit Sunbiz.org.

To apply for a Florida trademark or service mark, mail one original and one photocopy of an Application for the Registration of a Trademark or Service Mark, three specimens or facsimiles (examples) of the mark and a check payable to the Florida Department of State for the appropriate amount.

TRADEMARK OR SERVICE MARK
The application must contain:

  • The name and business address of the applicant and state whether the applicant is an individual, a corporation, a limited partnership, a general partnership or other business entity. If the applicant is a business entity, include the entity’s domicile state, the Florida registration number and federal Employer Identification Number.
  • If filing a service mark application, list the services for which the mark is used in connection. For example restaurant services, real estate sales, insurance sales, etc.
  • If filing a trademark application, list the goods or products for which the mark is used in connection. For example window cleaner, furniture polish, shoes, etc.
  • List how the mark is being used. If a trademark, tell how the mark is applied to the goods or products. For example: as a label, decal, or by engraving or imprinting on the goods. If a service mark, tell how the mark is used in advertising. For example newspaper advertisements, brochures, business cards, etc.
  • List the applicable class(es).
  • The date the mark was first used anywhere and the date the mark was first used in Florida.
  • The mark to be registered. If the mark includes a design, include a brief description. If a mark includes a word or design that must be disclaimed, applicants must include a disclaimer statement. All geographical terms and representations of cities, states or countries must be disclaimed (i.e., Miami, Orlando, Florida, the design of the state of Florida, the design of the United States of America, etc.). Commonly used words, including corporate suffixes, must also be disclaimed. If your mark includes a word or a design that is commonly used by others, the state of Florida cannot grant you the exclusive right to use the word or design and will require you to complete a disclaimer statement.
  • The dated and notarized signature of the applicant or person authorized to sign and the signer’s title.

 

Federal Registration Tips

Trademark or service mark registrations filed with the Florida Department of State are state government level registrations. They do not replace registrations with the federal government. Florida registrations are good for five years beginning with the date of registration.

To obtain information about federal registration, contact the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C., (571) 272-1000, or on the web at uspto.gov. For information regarding copyrights, contact the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress, (202) 707-3000, or on the web at copyright.gov.

Reprinted from Florida Small Business

Why Live Chat Is So Important Now

The benefits of Jivo Live Chat software

CSR’s tied up? No problem.

In today’s world of smartphones and multitasking, your website needs live chat. Spearhead Multimedia recommends Jivo Chat.

JivoChat is a professional, all-in-one business messenger that your teams use to talk to customers everywhere via live chat, phone, email, and social.

The powerful JivoChat agent app will turn your team into customer care superstars. The JivoChat widget allows you to chat with multiple visitors at the same time, which is impossible to do by phone. It’s live chat on steroids utilizing not only live chat but phone and social as well. The app’s features aim to boost your team’s efficiency and communication opportunities. Our clients have seen substantial increases in visitor engagement and overall sales and a reduction in customer service phone calls. People don’t want to or many times cannot talk on the phone. It’s much easier to live chat while at work or in situations where a voice conversation would be difficult. Jivo Chat solves those issues and more. Click here to receive your free trial today. We’re here to assist you set up the widgets on your site and help coordinate your chat agents.


Still not convinced? Here’s a great article by Steven MacDonald that should help you decide if you need live chat today….or yesterday.

9 Reasons Why Every Business Needs Live Chat Software

The benefits of Jivo Live Chat software

Post Summary:

  • Customer expectations are growing
  • What is live chat software and why do I need it?
  • 9 live chat software benefits for your business

by Steven MacDonald

In a digital world, speed is king.

From overnight shipping to instant access to your product or service, your customers want things now – and they usually get it.

However, this is not the case when it comes to customer service.

Research shows that the average response time for customer service requests on social media is 10 hours.

Worse still, email response times take longer than 12 hours!

This is not acceptable. And delays like this will lose you customers.

But, how can you respond quickly to your customers?

It’s simple – use live chat.

Live chat software enables you to have real-time conversations with your customers while they’re on your website. It’s quick, convenient and customers love it because it’s 100x faster than any other digital service channel.

Customer service response times by digital channel

Companies from major banks to small e-commerce stores now use live chat software to better serve their customers and improve response times. So, it’s no surprise that 33% of consumers now expect to see live chat offered on every website.

But, there’s a lot more to live chat software than providing quick customer support. That’s why we’ve rounded up 9 live chat software benefits to show you how chat can positively impact your business.

Let’s get started!

1. Increase sales and conversions

The first major benefit of using live chat on your website is the potential to increase sales.

The American Marketing Association found that B2B companies who used live chat see, on average, a 20% increase in conversions!

While browsing your website, prospects and customers will have questions about your product or service. With live chat, you can answer them immediately – and while the buyer is still on your website.

This is what makes live chat so powerful.

Live chat gives you the chance to hold your buyers’ by the hand, help them overcome objections and reach a buying decision. It’s like having a sales assistant on standby, live on your website.

Furthermore, a report by eMarketer looked into the impact live chat has on consumers. The report found that 35% more people made a purchase online after using live chat.

2. Reduce support costs

It’s no secret that customer support can be expensive.

In traditional call centers, a customer service agent will handle both phone and email requests. But, only one at a time (can you imagine trying to answer two calls at once?).

The benefit of live chat software is that it changes all of that.

According to research by Telus Internationalcustomer service agents can engage in as many as six (!) simultaneous chats, depending on the complexity of the issues involved.

Being able to handle several customer chats at once means you’ll need a substantially smaller team to handle customer service requests – cutting your support costs as a result.

If that’s not enough to persuade you, live chat is more than 50% cheaper than handling phone calls.

Approx. cost per contact for phone and live chat request handling

Within months of launching live chat on their website, WP Engine was able to solve more than 90% of all questions and issues immediately – reducing their customer support costs almost overnight.

3. Build trust with buyers’

When you walk into a physical store, the retailer gets the chance to build a rapport with you during the sales process. This helps them establish trust and make the sale. But online, you can’t do that.

Consumers’ are naturally skeptical of buying things from people they don’t know. It’s human nature. But, with live chat, you can have a direct conversation with your buyer that allows you to build trust and close the gap between online and offline purchases.

Trust is extremely important in the business world. If a buyer doesn’t trust you, they won’t provide their contact information or share their personal details.

A study from ATG (now acquired by Oracle) into Global Consumer Trends found that 90% of customers said the “Live Chat” button gives them confidence that they can get help if they need it. Without live chat, you’re going to have to work a lot harder to build trust with your website visitors.

4. Gain a competitive advantage

Offering live chat to your customers presents you with a great opportunity to gain a competitive advantage over your rivals.

A study into live chat by Telus International found that many businesses are still not benefiting from the power of using live chat on their websites. In fact, our own live chat study of 1,000 websites found that only 9% of websites use live chat to provide real-time support to their customers.

Josh Ledgard, the founder of Kick Off Labs, is a firm believer in using live chat support as a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. In one example, Josh shared a story about how he used the live chat software itself as a way to earn a new customer.

Josh Ledgard on live chat software as competitive advantage

So, the next time a buyer asks you how you are different to your competitors, you can respond by using live chat.

5. Increase average order value

Live chat doesn’t just help you increase sales – it also helps you increase the value of a sale too!

By using live chat to talk with the buyer and understand their needs, you can recommend similar products and services by up-selling and cross-selling to increase the average order value.

For example, if a buyer is looking to purchase a new laptop, a chat agent can respond by recommending a laptop that meets their needs. But, an agent can also increase the average order value by recommending a laptop case, a bag, and any laptop related accessories.

Internet Retailer found that Virgin Airlines used live chat to transform their business. Using live chat software, they up-sold customers with additional products and converted them 3.5x more often and saw a 15% overall increase in average order value as a result.

6. Satisfy your customers

Live chat is a great opportunity to improve customer support and provide a memorable customer experience on your website. That’s why customers prefer using live chat.

According to eDigital’s customer service benchmarklive chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone.

Live chat software ranks top in customer satisfaction ratings

The reason for live chat’s high satisfaction levels are due to “the efficiency and immediacy of the experience”, says Kirk Parsons, a Senior Director at Market Research company, J.D. Power.

Sure, you can offer traditional ways for people to contact you, but why not communicate with your customers in a channel that they prefer? By doing so, you will retain more customers.

7. Keep in contact with visitors

Unfortunately, not everyone who visits your website will buy from you straight away.

So, what happens when a visitor leaves the site? Do you sit back and hope that they come back at some point in the future, or do you do something about it?

For people that use live chat, you can collect information about them – and turn them into leads.

Before a live chat session begins, ask the user for their contact information. Not only does this help in identifying an existing customer, but by asking for their name you can provide a more personalized customer experience.

If the chat user isn’t a customer, you now know who they are. Use this to your advantage and ask them if they would like to receive news and promotional material as part of your email marketing strategy. They may not buy from you today, but by having their contact information you can convince over time that your product is the right fit for them.

Another benefit of using live chat is that even if you’re unable to collect contact information the first time around, 63% of consumers are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat. So, rather than communicating with anonymous visitors, you will be speaking with engaged prospects instead.

8. Improve website experience

With live chat, your customers no longer have to stop what they’re doing and pick up the phone or send an email when they have a question. Instead, they can have their questions answered immediately by a live person.

This is important – especially when it comes to purchasing or subscribing to products online.

Forrester Research found that 57% of customers abandon their purchase if they can’t get their question answered quickly.

In addition, the same study found that 44% of online consumers rate having their questions answered by a live person while in the middle of a purchase as one of the most important features a website can offer.

While improving the website experience helps customers, the business benefit here is that customers that use live chat on a website are 3 times more likely to make a purchase – making a positive impact on your bottom line.

Live chat is typically found on the home page and product pages, but another way to use live chat to improve the website experience is by placing chat in unusual places, such as 404 pages or pages that have been deleted. When your customers’ arrive on a 404 page, they usually leave. Now, a live chat agent can help them navigate and find what they are looking for.

Adding live chat to 404 pages to improve website experience

9. Understand your customer needs better

A key part of any marketing campaign or sales process is to understand your buyers’ needs and then provide the right solution to them. Not only does live chat software give you the opportunity to close a sale right there and then, but it also gives you access to their mindset by gathering what is known as “Voice of Customer Data”.

Voice of Customer (VOC) data is a market research tool that can help you see your business from a customer’s perspective. By collecting VOC data you can understand their thoughts, opinions and behavior, which can then be used to shape product development, marketing and the way you grow your business.

One way to collect VOC data through live chat is to review chat transcripts. You and your team can review valuable information such as words, phrases, and questions that buyer’s use, which you can then use to optimize your marketing copy to eliminate fears and doubts.

According to Aberdeen Research, companies that collect VOC data enjoy a 10-times-greater year-over-year increase in annual company revenue compared to all others.

Conclusion

If you want to succeed in business today, you can no longer ignore live chat software.

Your customers want access to fast and immediate support that helps them along in their purchase process. The good news for you is that very few companies use live chat, making it far easier to stand out from the competition.

Using live chat, you can communicate with your customers in a channel they prefer and use that to provide an unforgettable experience. If that’s not enough to convince you of the benefits of live chat, you will also decrease support costs and increase average order value and overall sales.

There’s no denying that the live chat software benefits for your business are huge.

It’s not a question of if you will use live chat for your business, but rather a question of when.

So, how long will it be before you start using live chat software? Comment below and let us know.

A customer initiates a Jivo Chat:

Here is what the agent is seeing on their side of Jivo Chat:

Stop tying up your phones and handling customers one-at-a-time. Try Jivo Chat today.

Blog SEO: 11 Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO (like a Pro)

Optimize your blog posts for SEO

The best time to optimize your blog content for SEO is when you are creating it, but you can always go back and improve your old articles as well.

Blog SEO is important because it helps you consistently get more traffic to your website. There are many things you can do to optimize your blog posts for SEO.

In this article, we will share our best blog SEO tips to help you optimize your blog posts for SEO like a pro. These are the tips that we use on our own blogs, which gets millions of visitors from search engines.

By the Editorial Staff at WPBeginner, a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Trusted by over 1.3 million readers worldwide.

1. Plan Your Content with Proper Keyword Research

Many beginners just use their best guesses to write about topics they feel that their users would be interested in.

You don’t need to rely on blind guesses, especially when you can do keyword research to find out exactly what your users are looking for.

Keyword research is a technique used by content creators and SEO experts. It helps you discover topics your users are interested in based on the search engine data.

Plan your content with keyword research

You can then use these keywords to plan your content strategy. This will ensure that you write about topics that people are actually looking for, and it’s a great way to find new blog post ideas.

We recommend using keyword research tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs. They offer in-depth keyword data, competition analysis, keyword position tracking, and tons of other useful features.

For detailed instructions, see our article on how to do keyword research for your blog posts.

2. Find Semantic Keywords for Your Focus Keyword

After you have done your keyword research and discovered keyword ideas, it is time to pick one that has the highest search volume and low competition.

This will be your focus keyword. It is the search phrase that your users are most likely to look for.

If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, then you can set the focus keyword in your article’s SEO settings. This would allow you to see how effectively you have used it in your article.

Setting focus keyword in Yoast SEO

Next, you need to find out the Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords. These are the searches related to your focus keyword.

The easiest way to find them is to simply enter your focus keyword in Google Search and scroll down to the bottom of results. There you’ll find them listed as ‘related searches’.

Related keywords

You need to incorporate as many of these keywords in your content, so you can have the most complete content for users.

It’s very important that you don’t try to stuff them in your content. This would look odd to your users and search engines are pretty good at detecting keyword stuffing.

3. Write an Effective Blog Post Title

The title of your blog post is extremely important for search rankings.

A good blog post title makes your article more relevant to the search query. More importantly, it motivates users to actually click on your article when they see it in search results.

You can make your blog post title more SEO friendly by using your focus keyword in the title.

Focus keyword in blog post title

Aside from adding your focus keyword, we also recommend making your headline catchy and click-worthy. That’s because click through rate (CTR) plays an important role in SEO.

There are several formulas to write effective headlines. The one that still works is called EMV or emotional marketing value.

This formula recommends using power words that trigger specific emotional responses in your audience. There are online tools like EMV headline Analyzerwhich help you calculate your title’s EMV score.

For more tips, see this article on headlines that went viral and how to copy their success in your own articles.

4. Make Internal Linking a Habit

Once you have blogged for a while, you will have enough content that you would want users to read. With internal linking, you can send new readers to check out your older relevant posts.

Internal linking is a great way to develop a contextual relationship between your new and old posts. It also allows you to pass relevant link juice to your older articles.

WordPress makes it easy to search for your old posts right inside the post editor. Simply select the text that you want to link and then click on the link button.

Internal linking

A text pop-up will appear below your selected words. You can start typing to search for the older articles that you want to link here.

Making internal linking a habit will make sure that your on-page SEO is good, and that your older articles continue to get new links.

Often beginners make the mistake of doing 1-way internal linking where they link to older posts from new articles. You can and should also go back to edit older posts to link to your new articles for maximum benefits.

5. Add Images and Videos to Your Blog Posts

Add images and videos to your blog posts

Search engines often rank engaging content higher in search results. Images and videos are far more engaging than plain text.

You want to make sure that your blog posts contain images between paragraphs.

When adding images, you want to be careful about image copyrights. Often beginners copy images from other sites to use on their site, and this can get you in legal trouble if you do so without proper permissions.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of places where you can find royalty free images to use in your blog posts. You can also use your own original photographs or use websites like Canva to create engaging graphics.

Make sure that you optimize your images for SEO. See our tutorial on how to optimize images for search engines for detailed instructions.

Videos are even more engaging than images. You can convert your blog posts into videos by creating slideshows, vlogs, or experiment with other formats.

However, you should never directly upload videos to your blog posts. WordPress is not optimized to serve videos, and your shared hosting service can’t handle them.

We recommend uploading your videos to YouTube. It is the second most popular search engine, and the second largest social media platform right after Facebook.

See our article on how to embed videos in WordPress for more details.

6. Add a Meta Description to Your Blog Post

The meta description is an HTML meta tag that you can add to any page. Its purpose is to provide a short description of your article for search engines and other crawlers.

Some SEO experts believe that the meta description tag on a page has become irrelevant. However, many others would disagree. At WPBeginner, we recommend using the meta description for all of your posts.

A good meta description can explain a lot more about an article. Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn also display it when your articles are shared on those platforms.

Meta description shown on Twitter

Since now you know that people are going to be reading your meta descriptions, you want to make sure that it’s helpful.

You also want to make sure that you at least mention your focus keyword once in the meta description for search purposes. The character limit for Meta Description is 155 characters.

Try to stay within that limit or your meta description will be truncated after 155 characters. You also want to make sure that you use the focus keyword earlier in the meta description rather than later.

To add meta description, you need to scroll down to the Yoast SEO meta box on your post edit screen.

Adding meta description for your blog posts in Yoast SEO

7. Make Your Articles Easier to Read

Readability is an important factor considered by search engines. Articles that are easier to read often rank higher than articles that are not user friendly.

Computer and mobile screens are still not an optimal platform for reading.

This is why most users just scan through articles. In fact, studies found that users spend less than a second to decide whether they want to stay on a page or leave.

That’s a very short time for you to convince the user to stay and scroll through. By improving readability, you can make it possible for your users to quickly scan an article.

You can improve readability by using shorter sentences, smaller paragraphs, punctuation, headings, and bulleted lists. We recommend adding white space around text and use images to make your text look easier on eyes.

You can use tools like Grammarly, which allows you to check grammar, punctuation, and spelling on the fly. It also gives suggestions to improve the readability of your articles.

Yoast SEO plugin also comes with a built-in readability checker. It shows the flesch reading score of your article under ‘Readability analysis’ tab.

Readability score

For more on this topic, see our article on how to improve the readability score of your blog posts.

8. Use Categories and Tags to Organize Content

Categories and tags help you sort your content not only for yourself, but for the readers and search engines.

The problem is that many WordPress beginners often end up using them incorrectly.

If you think about your website as a book, then categories would be the table of contents and tags will be the index part of the book.

Categories are used to divide your content into major topics discussed on your blog. Tags, on the other hand, are the topics discussed in an individual blog post.

To learn more, see our beginner’s guide on using categories and tags for maximum SEO benefit.

9. Aim to Be The Featured Snippet in The Search Result

Google has been trying to answer user questions as quickly as possible. As part of this effort, they have introduced the featured result or answer box.

Answer box in search results

This is the highlighted search result that appears on the top. Google generates a custom snippet from the article’s content highlighting the part that their algorithms believe to be the answer of user’s query.

According to research conducted by Advanced Web Ranking, Answer boxes secure almost 32.3% CTR. This makes them immensely important for your SEO strategy.

There is no specific set of instructions provided by Google regarding how they would pick the featured snippet. Their recommendation is to improve your content and make sure that it offers the information users are seeking.

However, at WPBeginner, we have created helpful tips based on our research that will help you appear in Google answer boxes with your blog posts.

10. Make Your Blog Posts Comprehensive

Search engines love articles that cover a topic with great detail. This is why we asked you to gather the semantically related keywords (LSI Keywords) as part of your content planning step.

These related keywords give you an idea of different variations of user searches regarding that particular topic. By covering those keywords in your article, you would be able to make it more comprehensive, informative, and useful.

You should use headings and subheadings to include those keywords and try to cover as much ground as you could.

Aside from LSI keywords, another tip to create complete content is to type your desired keyword and then switch to Image Search. You will see topic bubbles with a variety of keywords.

Blog SEO - Image Search Complete Content Tip

We recommend including these when creating your content, so you can have the most comprehensive content.

11. Optimize Older Blog Posts

Many beginners tend to forget about a blog post after they have published it. In fact, you are not done optimizing your blog post for SEO once it is published.

Here are some things that you need to do after publishing your blog post:

  • Promote it on social media – Promote your blog post across your social media profiles. You can even automate this task by using IFTTT to share your content.
  • Add internal links – Once you have published a post, you can go back to relevant old articles and add a link to your new blog post. This gives your new articles link juice while also allowing users to discover it more easily.
  • Track search rankings – You have optimized a post for SEO, but how do you keep track of its search rankings? See our guide on how to track search rankings for your blog posts for instructions.

We recommend optimizing old posts on a regular basis, so you can continue to improve your rankings.

We hope this article helped you optimize your blog posts for SEO like a pro. Need more tips to promote your content? See our article on how to get more traffic to your blog posts.

We could help even further by evaluating your current website and providing suggestions for improvements for SEO. Reach out to us today for website improvement or a complete redesign.

 

Google Ads Introduces Three New Bidding Strategies

google-ads

by Matt Southern

Google has introduced three new bidding strategies for Google Ads advertisers that offer more flexibility than Smart Bidding.

Over 70% of Google Ads advertisers are now utilizing some form of automated bidding, including Smart Bidding.

While users are satisfied with Google’s automated bidding solutions, they’ve expressed a need for more customizations.

In response, Google has introduced these three new bidding innovations.

Campaign-level conversion settings
Advertisers will be able to set conversion goals at the campaign level.

Previously, advertisers were limited to set conversion goals at the account level. That meant all campaigns within the account would have the same conversion goals.

Now, advertisers can map relevant conversion goals at the campaign level. Google notes that this will be especially useful for accounts that have clearly differentiated campaign goals.

Seasonality adjustments
Advertisers have been asking for more control with regards to seasonality beyond what is offered by smart bidding.

Specifically, advertisers need controls to account for ad hoc events like one-time promotions. So Google Ads is introducing seasonality adjustments.

One way seasonality adjustments could be used is to schedule an adjustment for periods of time when conversion rates are expected to spike.

Maximize conversion value
Maximize conversion value is a new bidding strategy that allows advertisers to optimize for the most conversion value within a specified budget.

Until now, bidding strategies around conversion have been more focused on efficiency.

Value rules
Lastly, in the coming months, Google Ads will be rolling out value rules which let advertisers differentiate conversion values based on characteristics like location, device, and audience.

With value rules, advertisers can customize conversion values so they align more closely with business goals.

Look Out for These 5 Signs of Black Hat SEO

black hat seo
Black hat SEO techniques will hurt your rankings and your business. Here’s how to spot them.
Black hat SEO refers to unethical practices to help a website rank higher in Google. Often times, a website doesn’t even know it’s suffering from black hat search engine optimization — and being penalized for it.

Though black hat can temporarily help a website rank higher in Google, search engines will ultimately demote it for bad practice. You need to know how to identify black hat SEO techniques. Here are five signs to look for in your website and others.


by Scott McGovern
CONTRIBUTOR
Founder of crypto site Blocklr & Growth Nuts, an organic growth co.
7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


What Is Black Hat SEO?

SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is the process of designing a website to rank higher in search engines like Google, Amazon or the App store. It’s an innovative way to “optimize” content, whether you’re a media company or an online retailer, to drive traffic organically instead of paying steep advertising fees.

There are two main kinds of search engine optimization: white hat and black hat SEO. White hat websites use legitimate techniques to rank for keywords that are relevant to its content. Black hat content is geared towards search engines, not humans. This means misleading both the reader and the algorithms.

You can’t afford the stigma of black hat SEO.

There are two big reasons why you should avoid deceptively optimizing your website. First, it creates a terrible user experience. Ever clicked on a website and found that the content mismatches the headline you read in Google? This does not foster long-term business growth, never mind the fact that it’s unethical.

Second, search engines will demote your website, which will tank your traffic. A decade ago, most search engine optimization was of this unethical kind because it’s easier than staying up to date on the top SEO marketing trends of 2019. Google and other search engines now have sophisticated algorithms for uncovering black hat SEO, so the danger of deceptively optimizing your website far outweigh the benefits.

Here are the most common black hat SEO techniques you should look for.

Paid links

Link popularity is one of the ways that Google ranks websites. The more websites link to yours, and the better the domain authority of those websites, the more authoritative Google will consider you to be.

According to Google’s own definition, a paid link is a link you bought with money or goods. Today, Google devotes significant resources to shutting down link farms and paid links but you don’t need SEO tools to determine if a website is buying links.

First, look at the “anchor text,” which is the wording that is hyperlinked. If the text seems random with no connection to the link (or apparent use for it), it could be bought. Next, consider the number of links on a page. If a page is full of randomly linked text, they’re most likely paid links.

For a more granular search, there are SEO tools for spotting paid links. The best SEO tools to help you rank higher in Google will create a full link profile for your website or others. Among other things, this can tell you how many back links a website has and where those back links are coming from.

Typically, people buy links in bulk. If you see that a website has a laundry list of back links coming from blogs or other sites with very little authority, chances are that at least some of them are bought.

Related: 5 Red Flags That Can Destroy Your Google Ranking

Keyword Stuffing

“Keyword stuffing” is when a keyword appears on a website an inordinate number of times in order to have it rank higher in Google search. It’s one of the most common black hat SEO techniques. Ever read a keyword or phrase out of context or unnaturally phrased? This could be keyword stuffing.

Keyword stuffing can be tough to identify because Google regularly changes its definition of what percentage of text should incorporate your keyword. The best way to identify keyword stuffing is to look for it in key places like the title, meta description and introduction. Does a keyword appear somewhere where it’s seemingly irrelevant? Is it used an unnatural number of times?

The best way to avoid keyword stuffing is to be intuitive about it: If you think you’re using your keyword too many times, you’re probably right. Deciding the optimum keyword strategy is also something to discuss with your SEO analyst before choosing your next SEO firm.

Related: 5 Tips for Choosing Your Next SEO Firm

Hidden Links

Hidden links are less common than they once were but you’ll still run into this type of black hat SEO from time to time. Hidden links are exactly what they sound like: They’re links that the user typically does not see. However, search engine spiders still take them into account when determining a website’s ranking.

Google’s Webmaster guidelines specifically outlaws:

  1. Placing text behind an image
  2. Off-screen links
  3. Text with the font size of zero
  4. Using a white background with white text
  5. Linking a small part of a text

Aside from going through the backend of a website page by page, you can also use an SEO tool to analyze its entire link profile. This will give you a complete list of a website’s links, including the ones that are hidden to the naked eye.

Cloaking and Redirects

These two processes refer to similar types of black hat SEO. In simple terms, URL redirects and cloaking are when websites show search engine crawlers and users two different types of content.

Ever clicked on a website and been directed to an entirely different website? This is what Google calls a “sneaky redirect.” The objective of a sneaky redirect is to bring traffic to a specific page while having a search engine rank a website based on the content from an entirely different page. This is especially common on mobile version for a website. While a desktop version might remain the same, the mobile site could display an entirely different spam URL.

Related: 6 Tricks to Optimize Your Site for Search Engines and Real People

Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

Private blog networks are a way to build back links, typically through a series of blogs. They can either be used to build domain authority for each other through a web or increase the ranking of one central website. Google has been working hard to penalize private blog networks. Specifically, they can connect a network of blogs through the following information:

  1. Same IP addresses
  2. Similar or identical content
  3. Same owners
  4. Shared servers

Uncovering this type of black hat SEO is relatively simple for search engines because it’s easy to identify these types of patterns. It may seem like a simple way to build a back link profile, but PBNs are also an easy way to have your website penalized for bad practice.

Related: 10 Strategies to Drive More Back Links

Black Hat SEO Will Affect Your Google Rankings

Today, Google algorithms are some of the most sophisticated in the world. This is a good thing for entrepreneurs and qualified optimization companies working to rank for relevant keywords. With the help of a qualified optimization firm, you can build a booming online business, but for people using unethical optimization techniques, the chances of receiving a Google penalty for black hat SEO increase with every update.

Overall, the best ways to increase your search engine rankings are to create informative content and follow Google’s rules.

Microsoft warns Windows 7 users of looming end to security updates

windows-7

Microsoft has rolled out a patch that will warn Windows 7 users that security updates will soon come to an end.

The patch rolled out Wednesday warning users of the impending deadline, January 14, 2020, when the software giant will no longer roll out fixes for security flaws and vulnerabilities. The deadline comes some 10 years after Windows 7 first debuted in 2009, more than half a decade before Microsoft’s most recent operating system Windows 10 was introduced.

Microsoft’s move to stop issuing security updates is part of the company’s ongoing effort to push users to its latest software, which stands on a greater security foundation and improvements to mitigate attacks.

Starting April 18, users on Windows 7 will begin receiving warnings about the approaching cut-off.

Windows 7 still commands some 40 percent of the desktop market, according to Net Applications. With exactly 300 days before the deadline, the clock is ticking on consumer security support.

Enterprise customers have the option to pay for extended security updates until 2023.

For years, Microsoft allowed Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free to try to encourage growth and upgrades. With those incentives gone, many only have the lack of security updates to look ahead to, which will put business data and systems at risk of cyber attack.

It’s almost unheard of for Microsoft to patch end-of-life software. In 2017, Microsoft released rare security patches for Windows XP — retired three years earlier — to prevent the spread of WannaCry, a ransomware strain that piggybacked off leaked hacking tools, developed by the National Security Agency.

The ransomware outbreak knocked schools, businesses, and hospitals offline.

Windows 7’s successor, Windows 8, will continue to receive updates until January 10, 2023.

2019 Color Trends

How to Create a Neon Rainbow Photoshop Portrait Effect

2019 Color Trends

When Pantone announced its 2019 color of the year as the bright and vivacious “living coral,” designers and artists all over took notice. And since color and culture go hand in hand, we’ve also seen a few new colors with even more vibrancy now emerging on the scene.

The Impact of Color

Color has always played a huge role in our lives. We all know our favorites, and it’s not uncommon for us to share a few. Each hue transmits a particular feeling, energy and mood, and by learning more about these trends we’ll be able to explore exciting inspirations we might otherwise ignore.

So let’s take a look at a few more emerging color trends for 2019.

Gold

Minimal Black and Gold Flyer Template
Minimal Black and Gold Flyer Template

In the creative, makeup and beauty worlds, the color gold is the champion of luxury brands. Models adjust their selfies with that perfect golden-hour glow, artists attach gold leaf to their canvases, and jewelry designers go in on fantastic gold designs.

And with an ever-growing global economy, it’s not a total shock that our tastes are becoming more expensive. The color gold is, in fact, driving this trend as we find ways to exude a sense of confidence in all areas of our lives. Psychology tells us that gold can make you feel glamorous while also inviting courageous feelings of passion and wisdom. Pretty cool!

Gold Inspiration

Are you feeling a little fancy today? Try out one of these gold design tutorials. I myself have already used this color a few times this year! Not only is it applicable across a variety of projects, but it also ranks as the top searched color on both Envato Market and Envato ElementsHow’s that for gold standard?

How to Create a 3D Gold Text Effect With Photoshop Layer Styles
How to Create a 3D Gold Text Effect With Photoshop Layer Styles

Recreate the metallic sheen and luster of stunning gold letters with this text effect tutorial! Join Enrique Elicabe as he explains how to use Photoshop layer styles to achieve realistic gold textures and colors.

More Gold Tutorials

Want more gold tutorials? Jump to a few of our favorites.

Natural Greens

Natural Magazine
Natural Magazine

Artists have always been connected to nature—and therefore, the color green. Green is the color of life. It’s associated with feelings of growth, harmony, renewal, and balance. It’s the circle of life all in one color, really. We notice it throughout the seasons, and now that we’re becoming more conscious of our environmental impact, natural green colors are dominating our work spaces, creative activities, and lifestyle designs.

Natural Green Inspiration

Hunter green is one of the most common greens designers are excited by, although you’ll also find many variations. Naturally, it inspires many creative projects with nature-infused themes, but it’s also associated with wealth and finance. So you’ll find it most prevalent in design topics like stationery, websites, and more.

Create Earthy 3D Typography in Photoshop

Create Earthy 3D Typography in Photoshop
Create Earthy 3D Typography in Photoshop

You can also use these colors for a brilliant text effect! Recreate this look with stellar stock images in Adobe Photoshop. Ed Lopez shows us how in this awesome tutorial above.

More Green Tutorials

Unwind and relax with a nature-inspired tutorial. Jump to a few of our favorites.

Neon Green

Green House Logo
Green House Logo

Remember the 90s TV show, Double Dare? Now you can relive all your favorite slime fantasies with one of the boldest fashion statements to hit the catwalk: UFO green. Daring and slightly unusual, this bold color choice has already been favored by fashion giants like Gucci and Versace.

So how do you stand out when everything is already so saturated? Many looking to this bright neon trend might be trying to do just that: stand out.

Neon Green Inspiration

From the catwalks of the spring 2019 runways to the fictional paradises seen in digital art, neon green is definitely a stunner. At the forefront of what you’ll see from this trend are vibrant vacation clothes, graphics, and colorful photography. But you can also check out our tutorials to find out how to use this cool color.

How to Create a Punk-Rock Portrait in Procreate

How to Create a Punk-Rock Portrait in Procreate
How to Create a Punk-Rock Portrait in Procreate

Procreate is the go-to digital painting app for many new artists. And now you can create epic, neon-colored hair with this tutorial from Maria Dimova. Learn how to use different brush settings and layer styles for a vibrant hairstyle.

More Neon Green Tutorials

Try out this wild color out yourself! Check out these helpful tutorials.

More Neon Colors: Pink, Orange, & Purple

Neon Sign Photoshop Effect
Neon Sign Photoshop Effect

Neon green isn’t the only psychedelic color to emerge for 2019.

And last year we called it! Many fan favorites come in the form of electric neon pinks, oranges, and even some unique purple flavors. Neon colors, after all, are an ode to the eclectic retro ambience of the 1980s. Everything certainly pops with them, and if used effectively, they can bring creative, spunky energy to any piece.

Neon Color Inspiration

Fashion designers like Jeremy Scott are also going full-on construction worker with bright, neon yellow accents for jumpsuits and other quirky designs.

Need some neon inspiration? Try your hand at a bold photo effect like the one below.

How to Create a Neon Rainbow Photoshop Portrait Effect

How to Create a Neon Rainbow Photoshop Portrait Effect
How to Create a Neon Rainbow Photoshop Portrait Effect

In this tutorial, Abbey Esparza shows you how to add a punk-rock pop art vibe to your portraits in Adobe Photoshop. Learn how to create the perfect neon glow and how to bring more vibrancy and brightness to any portrait.

More Neon Color Tutorials

Excited to try your hand at these colors? Check out these amazing tutorials.

Cobalt Blue

Blue Polygon Backgrounds
Blue Polygon Backgrounds

Will we ever grow tired of blue? Blue is a color you can feel and also design with. And the cobalt version refers to the extraordinary pure blue pigment discovered by chemists at the turn of the 19th century.

Cobalt Blue Inspiration

Cobalt blue was a favorite among legends like Vincent van Gogh. It also inspires a magical energy you might find in many neon-themed designs. Try out the one below for a cool text effect.

How to Create a Neon Glow in the Dark Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

How to Create a Neon Glow in the Dark Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop
How to Create a Neon Glow in the Dark Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

This insightful Photoshop lesson comes from designer Laura Keung. Follow along as she shows you how to use layer blend modes and multiple brushes for a unique neon look.

More Cobalt Blue Tutorials

Looking for something to make with cobalt blue? Check out these tutorials.

Try These Trends

How will color guide you in 2019? Explore these trends and test out new color palettes to improve your skills.  For more help, find exciting new tutorials to try over on Tuts+.


About the Author Melody Nieves

I’m a digital artist with a love of all things Photoshop. Check out my tutorials for great tips on digital painting, photo manipulation, and photo effects on Envato Tuts+!

How to hear and delete Alexa conversations

alexa

Did you know Alexa records everything you say? Here’s how to delete it all

Navigate to the Alexa app you use to control your Alexa device. It’s probably on a mobile device you have, and the icon is a light blue with a white circle. Open up the app, and sign in using your Amazon account password if necessary. If you’ve never used your Alexa app before, or if it’s been a very long time since you’ve used it, Alexa may run you through a quick setup procedure first. This only takes about a minute or so to get through.

When you arrive at the home screen, look in the upper left-hand corner and select the icon that looks like dashed lines, or the main menu. Look down to the bottom of the menu and select the option that says Settings.

Alexa Voice History

From here, look at the top of the new menu and select Alexa Account. This will take you to yet another menu. At the bottom you should see an option that says Alexa Privacy. Select this to begin.

STEP 2: SORT AND GO THROUGH YOUR RECENT ALEXA HISTORY

Alexa Voice History Screen

The Alexa Privacy section will give you several different options for reviewing the sensitive information that Alexa has collected. You may want to spend some time here. But for this particular task, you will want to go to Review Voice History. This will open a new screen with all your recorded Alexa conversations.

At the top of the screen, you will see an option to change the Date Range. You can choose options for seeing today’s commands, yesterday’s, and so on, all the way to viewing your entire history. If you really want to weed through all your recordings, you need to choose All History. This will display all your conversations with Alexa when they occurred, and on what device.

STEP 3: DELETE YOUR HISTORY AS YOU WISH

Alexa Conversations

As you view your recordings, you will notice that some have the text of your conversations, like, “Alexa, is it gonna snow today?” but that other recordings say, “Text not available – audio was not intended for Alexa.” These recordings happen when Alexa is still listening for a second after answering your question (it’s caught me mocking it before), or if nearby conversations sounds like someone said “Alexa” but the voice assistant determines that no one was really talking to it. You can click on these recordings to play them and see what they are if you are curious.

To the left of each recording, you will see a checkbox. Select the checkbox of every recording that you want to delete. Then go up top and choose Delete Selected Recordings to remove them all.

STEP 4: DELETE YOUR WHOLE HISTORY AT ONCE IF YOU NEED TO

If you don’t want to take the time to review all your recordings, or don’t really care what they say, you can also delete them all without looking. Simply look at the top of the Review Voice History menu and select Delete All Recordings for All History.

Delete Alexa Conversations Through Alexa

You can also delete your entire history from your computer without going to the Alexa app. Simply go to Amazon’s Manage Your Content and Devices site, and make sure that you are in the Devices tab. Here you will see all the devices connect to this Amazon account. Select an Alexa device, and then look below the name of the device to see an option that says Delete Voice Recordings. Select this, and Amazon will pop up a quick warning screen. Select Delete, and you should get a message that says Your deletion request was received. All done!

FINAL NOTE ON DELETING ALEXA RECORDINGS

Deleting Alexa recordings is an important part of your privacy, and Alexa recordings have made their way into prosecution cases before, although there’s not a lot of precedence for this sort of thing so far. We understand if you don’t want your recordings existing out there in the cloud. However, there is an important caveat to deleting your messages: Alexa uses your recordings to help improve the accuracy of its listening functions. In other words, the more you talk to Alexa, the smarter it becomes at recognizing your voice and understanding what you’re saying. When you delete all your recordings, you’re getting rid of Alexa’s “memory” of your voice, so Alexa may have more trouble recognizing your commands. It’s a small price to pay, but worth noting. You can always build the recognition back up again with new voice commands.